CNLP 444: Chris McChesney on How to Get Your Team to Own Breakthrough Goals, Engage More Deeply and Master Execution

Chris McChesney, the Global Practice Leader of Execution for Franklin Covey, has helped pioneer The Four Disciplines of Execution that thousands of companies have adopted around the world to help them set and achieve breakthrough goals. Chris outlines a framework that will help your team engage more deeply and master the execution of your mission and goals.

Welcome to Episode 444 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s Ask Me Anything About Productivity segment, Carey answers Cameron’s question about Carey’s thief of productivity.

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Conversation Links

The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney and Sean Covey

The Four Disciplines of Execution Website

4DX Software Tools and App-Based Tools

Franklin Covey Website

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni

CNLP 222: Patrick Lencioni on Saying No To Steve Jobs, Motivating Millennial Workers and The Three Qualities You Need to Look for To Create The Ideal Team

CNLP 299: Patrick Lencioni on His Personal Leadership Crash, How He Moved Through It, and How to Check Your Motive as a Leader

CNLP 348: Patrick Lencioni on How Virtual Teams and Events are Often Better, His Best Advice for Church Leaders and Preachers, and Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Responsibilities

CNLP 391: Patrick Lencioni on How to Discover Your Working Genius, Uncovering Why Some Aspects of Leadership Drain You and Others Energize You, and How to Get the Best Out of Your Team

How To Lead Through Crisis – Free Course

Trial, error and the God complex – Tim Harford | TEDGlobal2011

Frederick Herzberg

At Your Best by Carey Nieuwhof

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Insights From Chris

1. 4 steps to getting through to your next critical breakthrough

Chris breaks down The Four Disciplines of Execution while stating the intent of the 4DX is to execute on your next breakthrough, not a way to run your whole operation.

Below is a brief description of each of the four disciplines:

  • First Discipline: Focused on the wildly important goal (WIG), you determine what’s going to get deliberate disproportionate energy. Get very clear on the starting line, the finish line and the deadline.
  • Second Discipline: Once you’ve identified the target, you begin working on developing lead measures. Defining what is both influenceable and predictive of outcome achievement.
  • Third Discipline: Keep a compelling scoreboard. See, in real-time, both the lead and lag measures.
  • Fourth Discipline: Create a cadence of accountability. Each member of the team commits to doing something that week that will ensure forward movement of the lead measures.

You can catch more in the episode, or pick up The Four Disciplines of Execution to apply it in your organization.

2. The CEO isn’t the know-it-all

When working through the practices of 4DX, Chris clarifies that while the CEO or leader might have a hypothesis of what he/she thinks is the next critical objective, the leader should not try and convince the organization of the merit of his/her vision.

Instead, the leader of the organization should spend a lot of time clarifying questions, being open and offering feedback. In the end, the leader will have to make the final call on strategic direction, but it doesn’t mean that he/she is the know-it-all.

3. There is a human limit for ambiguity

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has unexpectedly impacted many organizations. Ambiguity adds so many layers of stress to human beings. So, how can an organization apply the 4DX while staying agile in times of uncertainty?

Chris recommends setting new goals and new commitments. Have the new goal feel like the one piece of sanity in an otherwise crazy life; the one thing that makes sense. Help your team identify what they’re winning at, and celebrate the small wins.

Quotes from Episode 444

An organization's ability to put energy against non-urgent activities really defines their ability to execute on strategy in the long haul. @McChesney4dx Click To Tweet The greatest need of the human soul is to be understood. - Stephen Covey Click To Tweet Hope is not a strategy. Click To Tweet Urgency drives human behavior. @McChesney4dx Click To Tweet There is a human limit for ambiguity. @McChesney4dx Click To Tweet Predictable success is the tension between entrepreneurial zeal and systems that work. – Les McKeown Click To Tweet You don't know if a strategy is good if you can't execute on it. @McChesney4dx Click To Tweet There's only two things that drive engagement. Am I making progress, number one, and number two, does it matter? - Frederick Herzberg Click To Tweet If I'm a leader, do the people who work for me, in some area, feel like they are winning and it matters? @McChesney4dx Click To Tweet You can be influenceable and not predictive, or you can be predictive but not influenceable. @McChesney4dx Click To Tweet As a leader, you can't not have a goal in your mind. Click To Tweet A lead measure is not the same thing as a predictive indicator. @McChesney4dx Click To Tweet The intent of the Four Disciplines of Execution is to execute on the next breakthrough. @McChesney4dx Click To Tweet There will always be more requests than there is time available. Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 444

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Next Episode: Amy Porterfield

Amy Porterfield started writing content for Tony Robbins when she was in her 20s.

She talks about what she learned from Tony, about heading out on her own to teach marketing to others, and covers everything from common mistakes leaders make in online marketing, to how to grow an email list (from scratch), why text message marketing is part of the future and other things you need to know to grow your online audience.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 445.

CNLP 444: Chris McChesney on How to Get Your Team to Own Breakthrough Goals, Engage More Deeply and Master Execution


  1. Charles on September 26, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    Amazing episode! This really gave me some helpful tips in applying 4DX in our organization (and as a bonus got some good parenting advice too). Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom with us.

  2. Jim Brown on September 22, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    The Lencioni book that Chris was recommending because it aligned so well with what Herzberg espoused used to be The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. The new title is The Truth About Employee Engagement: A Fable About Addressing the Three Root Causes of Job Misery.

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